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Licensed Home-related Goods Up 3.4% WW in 2016

By Karina Masolova,

Retail sales of licensed home furnishings, housewares, and domestics grew by 3.4% globally, according to The Licensing Letter’s Annual Licensing Business Survey.

Growth was largely thanks to returns in consumer confidence and economic stability. Retail played a strong role in supporting the growth of a wide variety of brands, as the home goods market is increasingly embracing shorter seasons and frequent overturn to keep shelves fresh.

The U.S./Canada dominate licensed retail sales share, but the rest of the world saw rapid growth (8.2%) in 2016. Growth was especially strong in territories like Asia and the Middle East & Africa, largely due to the smaller dollar share amount. Growth in Europe was somewhat flat in 2016 but is expected to pick up in 2017.

Among property type trends, the broader home goods category is also looking outside of a predominantly art-based licensing model to include property types like corporate trademarks, digital influencers and brands, and fashion designers.

Retail Sales of Licensed Home Furnishings/Housewares/Domestics, 2015–2016
Note: Numbers may not add up exactly due to rounding.
(Figures in Millions)
Territory Retail Sales, 2016 Retail Sales, 2015 Change, 2015–16 Share, 2016
U.S./Canada $9,645 $9,460 2.0% 76.4%
Rest of World $2,984 $2,758 8.2% 23.6%
Total Worldwide $12,629 $12,218 3.4% 100.0%

In the U.S./Canada, growth was relatively slower at just 2.0% for the category (combined furniture/home furnishings, housewares, and domestics categories). Home-related licensing was up overall, as consumers were eager to spend on home renovation and decorating.

  • Domestics were up 2.0%, largely in part because of corporate/trademark and fashion designer brands. Sales in textiles were soft in 2016, but products like bedding and rugs performed well overall.
  • Housewares were up 1.3%. The biggest growth was in small, cheap goods, home decor, and accents.
  • Furniture and home furnishing sales were up 2.5% as manufacturers and retailers tapped more fashion and surface designers for innovative ideas.
  • Hardware and paint sales were up 3.4% thanks to corporate/trademarks, celebrity, and fashion brands.
  • Gardening was up 1.3%.

Below, we’ve also included “Other” property type sub-categories for hardware/paint and gardening to provide a broader picture of licensing in the U.S./Canada; these retail sales are included in “Other” for the worldwide calculations and are therefore not included in the home furnishings/housewares/domestics product category.

Retail Sales of Licensed Home-related Goods, U.S./Canada, 2015–16
Note: Numbers may not add up exactly due to rounding.
(Figures in Millions)
Product Category Retail Sales, 2016 Retail Sales, 2015 Change, 2015–16 Share, 2016
Domestics $3,550 $3,480 2.0% 34.8%
Furniture/Home Furnishings $3,189 $3,111 2.5% 31.2%
Housewares $2,906 $2,869 1.3% 28.5%
Hardware and Paint $333 $322 3.4% 3.3%
Gardening $229 $226 1.3% 2.2%
Total $10,207 $10,008 2.0% 100.0%

Royalty rates in the U.S./Canada have remained flat over the years. Domestics command the highest royalties, in part because entertainment/character licensing commands a higher share of licensed goods sold. Housewares, on the other hand, has a higher share of art-based licensed brands.

Millennials are the largest growth drivers for home-related goods like furniture and bedding as they move out and establish new homes. They’re also leading the charge in one of the fastest-growing distribution types—ecommerce. Ecommerce accounted for 21% of total furniture sales in 2014, and it is forecast to grow to 30% by 2018, according to research firm eMarketer.

Amazon, in particular, is reaping the rewards. The ecommerce giant held an estimated 17% market share in home furnishings in 2016, according to Morgan Stanley. And according to One Click Retail, Amazon’s share of overall housewares sales was 8.5% in 2016, up from 6.8% in 2015. One Click Retail estimates that Amazon counted $2.3 billion in furniture sales (and that its furniture sales are up 50% YTD through Q3 2017) and $7 billion in housewares sales in 2016 (up 33% from 2015).

According to HomeWorld Business, the biggest retailers based on retail sales of housewares in 2015 (latest figures available) were Walmart, Costco, and Target. Today, we estimate that retailers like Williams-Sonoma (net revenue up 2.2% in 2016), Wayfair (up 59.7%), and Amazon (general merchandise net sales up 28.7%) command a higher share of the pie.


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